“People lose the meaning of their life when they get stuck in their comfort zone” – this has been my motto, which motivated me to join AIESEC. For so many years, I had been in my comfort zone but my AIESEC Internship has changed my life and has broken the barriers to bring me to where I am now.
Joining an AIESEC Internship was the greatest risk in my life worth taking. There were four reasons why I can confidently say this: it made me discover my other potentials; it offered me perks; it expanded my network of friends and institutional connections; and it exposed me to various cultures.
Before going to the details, let me walk you through on how I was able to learn about AIESEC.
I was taking my Masters degree in Educational Technology and was about to graduate in few months when I received from my fiancé a forwarded email about AIESEC, which he got from another friend. Yes, the good news came from my fiancé. It was our first time to hear about it. That time, we were engaged and about to get married in few months, and I had a full time job for 5 years.
Before joining, people at AIESEC oriented me: what is AIESEC, what it is doing, and what are the nitty-gritty things I should know. I also heard lots of stories on how AIESEC helped others realized their fullest potentials. Sounded so much fun, exciting, challenging, interesting and risky!
What about my job? What about my dream wedding? Can I do this? Is Malaysia safe for a Christian like me? These were the questions that lingered in my brain – questions, which steered lots of discussions with my fiancé. So, my decision? I took the risks. It was a chance to go out of my shell – a chance to do something new.
I was motivated and realized that I am a newly-born chick, who wants to get out of my shell, learn to walk, and go as far as I can go. It was a chance to meet as many people as possible, see a different world and most importantly, discover what else I can do and eventually hoping to realize my other potentials before finally settling in. That was the biggest risk I ever had in my entire life. I could still remember the fork road, where the left route could have been the same old me and this right route where I am now.
This is the story of my right route, which made me say, with certainty, that the risk was worth taking.
So, after few months of looking for the country of internship, I finally got matched with YouthAsia (YA), Malaysia for 1 year Management Internship.
First, joining the AIESEC Internship at YA Malaysia made me discover my other potentials. I have learned social advertising – a whole new face of promoting campaigns by the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, among others. Furthermore, I was able to work and currently working in a workplace with diverse skin colors, a racial mix of young, talented professionals. I can still remember during my second week of internship, together with other colleagues, I was able to manage a huge international youth event called Youth Engagement Summit (YES) 2009, an event which gathered 500 youths from various parts of Asia to learn and get motivated from icons like Randy Zuckerberg, Gary Kasparov, Sir Bob Geldof, and Biz Stone, among others. Lastly, I have learned to live independently through my AIESEC experience. Having to stay in a home away from home, I have learned how to do my laundry, clean the house, and most importantly, cook Malaysian dishes. Yes! To name a few, I can now cook Char Kuew Teow Goreng, Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng Briyani.
Second, through my internship at YA Malaysia, I was able to enjoy its perks. One was the chance to go back and forth outside of the Philippines. In addition, during my first week of internship, I have gained publicity in TV and in print. I was featured in “The Star,” Malaysia’s number 1 newspaper and Astro TV. This gave me recognition throughout Malaysia, even at least for a while. Next thing was the chance to enjoy the benefits of an employee. I was able to avail Vacation and Sick Leaves and even had 25% increase in my monthly salary even if I was just an intern at that time. And most importantly, I was able to help realize other people’s dream of going abroad. Through YES 2009, my friends were able to fly to Malaysia and participated to such event. My husband, who is a frequent traveler and who was my still
my fiancé at that time, was even selected as one of the country ambassadors for this event.
Third, this internship helped me expand my network of friends and connections to companies and organizations. Currently, I have thousands of friends in Facebook and hundreds of followers in Twitter. How many friends do I have before? 100. Yes, my network of friends increased exponentially. Not only this. They come from all over the world. With them, my homesickness lessened and my knowledge about their cultures increased. My internship also helped me stretch out my connections to companies and organizations in Malaysia. I have worked and currently working with companies and organizations working in various facets: digital/mobile technology, marketing, market research, international English schools, NGOs and huge corporations. So what’s in it for me knowing them and working with them? I was able to expand knowledge of emerging fields and disciplines which could help me hone my expertise and specialization dealing with information, education and communication.
Finally, through AIESEC, I was able to know Malaysian culture more – a tripartite racial mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians. I have realized how similar the Malays and Filipinos are, in terms of language and looks. I am motivated by the high spirit of entrepreneurship of the Chinese. Last but not the least; I have enjoyed delectable Indian food and spices.
In a nutshell, my experience with AIESEC made me proud of myself to be an Ambassadress of Goodwill to Malaysia, representing the Philippines in a country where race is of important recognition. It also made my family proud of who I am and what I have become.
To date, I have a fulltime job with YouthAsia and working as a Community Manager. I have a master’s degree now and I am happily married with my husband, living in and exploring Malaysia, together.
I could definitely say that after a year of internship under AIESEC, I have learned a lot and discovered so much about myself. My life has never been the same again and a lot meaningful, with the help of AIESEC.
More power, AIESEC!